Local musician plays trumpet in Pineville Walmart parking lot during pandemic

Published: Apr. 22, 2020 at 3:55 PM CDT
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For Makalani Jones, music is a way of life.

“I get a chance to use my music as a prayer,” Jones said.

The Rapides Parish resident has loved playing the trumpet for as long as he can remember.

“I’ve been playing since I was 11,” Jones said. “I learned to play in Austin, Tx. at Graham Elementary School. Once I became 33, I, myself, became a professional mariachi.”

He even followed the “standard musician’s advice”: Don’t quit your day job.

“I’m a music educator, a school teacher.”

But like many so many other familiar tunes, the pandemic has left him out of a job.

“We got called into the office to inform us that we were dismissing,” he said. “Somebody might say, ‘Well, go out and get a real job. Go get a real job!’ Well, newsflash: We’re in a worldwide pandemic. The only jobs there are for you is to create an opportunity for yourself.”

But his desire to keep music his full-time job continued, so he found work for himself, this time, in a different setting: The Walmart parking lot on Monroe Hwy. in Pineville.

For Jones, a trumpet creates more than just a beautiful sound.

“I get our here and clear my thoughts, and it’s a way to keep in touch with my art form, my career, my discipline.”

It creates purpose and gives hope for everyone, especially during the hard times.

“There’s a gentleman who lives here in Ball,” he said. “And he was like, ‘Every day when I get off of work, I just sit in my car, and I decompress, and I smoke a cigarette and I listen to you. It helps me get through the day.’”

While Jones gives his time and talents to better the day-to-day lives of strangers, strangers return the favor so he can continue doing what he loves: Making life sound a little bit sweeter.

Copyright 2020 KALB. All rights reserved.